What kinds of tests did you have to diagnose hepatitis C?
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How is hepatitis C diagnosed?
Blood tests for hepatitis C
There are several blood tests for the diagnosis of hepatitis C infection.
Blood can be tested for antibody to hepatitis C. It takes up to six months for
antibodies to develop after the initial infection with hepatitis C, so screening
for antibodies may miss a few newly-infected individuals. Having antibodies is
not an absolute indication of active, multiplying hepatitis C virus, but if the
antibody test is positive (antibody is present), the statistical probability of
active infection is greater than 99%.
Several tests are available to measure the amount of hepatitis C virus in a
person's blood (the viral load). The hepatitis C virus's RNA can be identified
by a type of test called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that detects circulating
virus in the blood as early as 2-3 weeks after infection, so it can be used to
detect suspected acute infection with hepatitis C early infection. It also is used to determine whether active hepatitis is present in someone who has
antibodies to hepatitis C, and to follow the viral load during treatment.
Blood tests are also performed to identify the genotypes of HCV. Genotypes
respond differently to different treatment, so this information is important in
selection of the most appropriate treatment regimen.
Estimation of liver fibrosis using blood tests also is quite reliable in
diagnosing clinically significant scarring; these include FIB-4, FibroSure,
Fibrotest, and Aspartate Aminotransferase-to-Platelet ratio index (APRI).